What I currently use for privacy (after almost 2 years of long investing into it)
List of beer money opportunities in Ireland and most countries worldwide
Please DO NOT post articles promoting these.
PayPal is the most common way to get paid, so if you don’t already have an account, I would advise you to create one here.
I will show my personal payment proofs, sign-up bonus, payout options followed by what you need to do to earn for every site/mobile app/software.
I haven’t cashed out on all the websites yet but I'm regularly updating the list.
The list will consist of 4 parts.
Part 1: Surveys, studies, watching videos, playing games etc.
Part 2: Mobile apps only
Part 3: Passive income for Windows/Linux/Mac OS and mobile apps
Part 4: Ireland only - Surveys and Scanning groceries for cashback
Part 1: Surveys, studies, watching videos, playing games etc.
Swagbucks | Click here to get 300 SB points (3$) when signing up.Note that you need to earn 300 SB within the first 30 days of signing up to get your bonus. * Payout options: PayPal, Amazon gift cards and more. * Swagbucks payment proofs 1 / 2 * Surveys, polls, download offers, sign up offers, cashback when shopping etc. * Tips to earn more: * Click here to add the SwagButton to earn cashback on websites you visit. * Go to the "Discover" section and do offers such as download/install games. They usually pay between 50 to 2000 SB (0.50$ to 20$). * Get 1000 SB for subscribing to Disney + for a year (equivalent of $10) and many more. * Offers change regularly. You should never get bored and have small tasks to do every day. Survey Time | Click here to sign up * Payout options: PayPal, Amazon gift card and Bitcoin * SurveyTime Payment proofs 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 * The average length of each survey is roughly 10 minutes and you will usually earn 1$ (sometimes 0.50$ but they inform you before). * You get paid instantly (within minutes with PayPal). OfferNation | Click here to sign up * Sign up bonus: $0.25 * Payout options: PayPal and Skrill * Points proof | PayPal payment proof | Email payment proof * Wide range of surveys * You might need to send a utility bill or any document with your name on it. It is to prevent fraud. I had to do that myself, I just sent them my broadband utility bill. * You get paid almost instantly as you can cash out from $1 Prolific | Click here to sign up * Payout option: PayPal * Payment proof 1 / Payment proof 2
This website is one of my favorites. You basically get random "studies" depending on the questions you pre-filled when signing up (you can change them later on at any stage).
It might help if you speak more than 1 language. I speak both English and French, so I get studies in both languages.
Some examples of studies I've done:
Decision-making in recruitment: They gave me different short CVs and I had to choose which applicants I would hire if I were a recruiter (there are no right or wrong answers, they just want to know whom I would choose depending on their degrees, experience etc.).
Food items: Type the first 10 words that come to your mind with the word "Orange" (I don't actually remember the name of the food they gave me but basically, for this one, I'd enter "Vitamin C, sun etc." for example.
Male grooming: In this one, I had to say whether I shave my body hair, which parts and whether I thought men should do it or not.
I've had many more studies but I'm not going to write them all down, it's just to let you know what kind of studies you can expect. ySense | Click here to sign up * Payout options: PayPal, Amazon gift cards and more. * Similar to Swagbucks. InstaGC | Click here to sign up * Sign up bonus: 10 points * Payout options: PayPal and Bitcoin * PayPal payment proof / Email payment proof * Similar to Swagbucks. GG2U | Click here to sign up * Sign up bonus: $1 * Payout options: PayPal, Bitcoin * Similar to Swagbucks. Gain.gg | Click here to sign up * Sign up bonus: 100 coins * Payout options: Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethererum, Litecoin and more). * Similar to Swagbucks. TimeBucks | Click here to sign up * Sign up bonus: $1 * Payout options: PayPal, Payeer and Bitcoin * Similar to Swagbucks. ZoomBucks | Click here to sign up * Sign up bonus: 500 points * Payout options: PayPal, Amazon gift cards and more. * Similar to Swagbucks. GrabPoints | Click here to sign up * Sign up bonus: 500 points * Payout options: PayPal, Amazon gift cards and more. * Similar to Swagbucks. FeaturePoints | Click here to sign up * Sign up bonus: 50 points * Payout options: PayPal, Visa gift card, Amazon gift cards, Bitcoin and more * Enter the code 9BGX93 to get 50 points if you download the app directly from your mobile phone. * Similar to Swagbucks. PrizeRebel | Click here to sign up * Payout options: PayPal, Amazon gift cards and more * Similar to Swagbucks. Market Agent | Click here to sign up * Payout options: PayPal, Skrill and Bank transfer * Surveys TestingTime | Click here to sign up * Payout options: PayPal, Direct deposit * Test new products & services and earn up to €50 per hour. * I haven’t had any luck yet with this site but maybe you’ll be lucky! * They should send you an email whenever a product or service needs to be tested.
Part 2: Mobile apps only
AttaPoll (Android and IOS) | https://attapoll.app/join/lygpl * Payout options: PayPal, Revolut, Ethereum * AttaPoll payment proof * Short surveys. Usually take between 1 to 10 minutes. Poll Pay(Android and IOS) | Android | iPhone * Sign up bonus: 0.23€ when using this code N6D2DC84BB * Payout options: PayPal, App Store/iTunes and Spotify Premium * Poll Pay payment proof * Short surveys. Usually between 5 to 10 minutes. Money App (Android and IOS) | http://moneyapp.org/app * Sign up bonus: 200 Credits when using this code 71YNBT * Payout option: PayPal * Surveys, installing/playing games, signing up to sites etc. CashKarma (Android and IOS) | https://cashkar.ma/nP0H05HOz8 * Sign up bonus: 300 Karma points. Go to the top right corner of the app and enter weaselbusters * Payout options: PayPal, Google Play, Xbox Live and Steam * Surveys, installing/playing, signing up to sites etc. BeMyEye(Android and IOS) | https://bemyeye.com/earn-money/ * Sign up bonus: 1€ when you enter this code j5z6pk and complete your first mission. * Payout options: PayPal and Bank transfer * This app allows you to earn money by completing missions. They include taking pictures at specific locations in your area, answering questions and following instructions given to you by the app. StreetBees(Android and IOS) | Android | iPhone * Sign up bonus: 1€ when you enter this code 8572TF * Payout option: PayPal * Stories (these are basically surveys, but they show as if someone was asking you questions on a messaging app) Givvy app (Android and IOS) | Android | iPhone
Sign up bonus: 130 coins
Payout options: PayPal, Revolut
Earn Givvy points by playing games (Memory cards, Tic tac toe and Calculate).
With those coins, you can enter entries to earn between 0.25€ to 50€.
The other option is to keep your coins and convert them to cash, but this could take longer to earn.
BigCash (Android and IOS) | Android | iPhone * Sign up bonus: 70 coins when you enter this code nwzh7k5z after installing the app * Payout options: PayPal, Amazon gift card etc. * Earn points by watching videos, checking in every day, surveys etc. BuzzBreak(Android only, coming soon to IOS) | http://bit.ly/2vpqKU6 * Sign up bonus: 500 points when entering referral code B22603141 after you start using the app. * Earn cash by simply reading the news, checking in every day and play games. * I would advise you to only use this if you plan on reading the news from this app. Watching videos and playing games for the purpose of earning points is not really worth it, unless you have a lot of free time.
Part 3: Passive income for Windows/Linux/Mac OS and mobile apps
HoneyGain (Windows, Mac OS and Android) | Click here to sign up and claim your first $5 * Payout option: PayPal * Install their software on your computer and leave it running in the background. * This software basically shares some of your Internet traffic. * Completely passive because once installed and signed in, you will start earning and it will load up as soon as your start up your computer. PacketStream (Windows, Linux and Mac OS) | Click here to sign up * Payout option: PayPal * Same concept as HoneyGain Money SMS (Android only) | Click here to download * Sign up bonus: 0,25€ when using this code MZ2GLM24 * Payout option: PayPal * Money SMS payment proof * App to download on your mobile where you receive up to 2 texts per day. You will earn 0.02€ per text. * These are very random texts and you don't need to read them. There are days I don't receive any texts at all and times I receive 2 texts at a time every day. * It's totally passive as you only need to download the app and wait. McMoney(Android only) | From your mobile phone, go to https://mcmoneyapp.com/ Click on Download APK and install the app. * Sign up bonus: $0,25 when using this code V6TM2KP5 * Payout option: PayPal * Same concept as Money SMS * They pay $0.05 per text (twice more than Money SMS but I personally run both on my mobile). LoadTeam (Windows only) | Click here to sign up and get your first $0.20 * Payout option: PayPal * You will need to download their software on your computer and leave it running. * This app basically "harvests" your computer's idle power. * Note that your computer could run slow if you don't change the settings on their software. * Tip: I would advise to use this only if you use your computer at the same time. Leaving this particular software running for the purpose of simply earning money might not be worth it. * Once you install it, you can see how much money you could potentially make as it all depends on your computer's performance. eBesucher (Windows, Linux and Mac OS) | Click here to sign up * Payout options: PayPal and bank transfer * Autosurf that launches random advertised websites on your browser. You can also earn points by reading emails they send you but then it wouldn't be a passive income. I personally just let the Autosurf running. * The main purpose of an Autosurf is for new websites to bring traffic. * You will need to download their software on your computer and leave it running. * Simply hit "Start" once the software is installed.
Part 4: Ireland only - Surveys and Scanning groceries for cashback
Mobrog | Click here to sign up * Payout options: PayPal and Skrill * Mobrog payment proof * Surveys. Note that your reward will usually show the next day. Shop and Scan | Click here to sign up * Payout options: One4all, Amazon, Penneys, Zalando, Clarks and more. * Shop and Scan payment proof | Shop and Scan points earned proof (past 30 days) * Earn cash back when scanning your groceries. * Once you sign up, you will receive a barcode scanner by post with a book. * Every time you go shopping (once a week), scan the items you bought, take a picture of your receipt and upload them to their site through their app. * Uploading a receipt = 60 points * Scanning and uploading your groceries = 140 points * That's a total of 2€ every week. (Doesn't sound like much but that's a free 8€ per month spending no more than 5 minutes each time). * Once they are in contact with you via email with the full application to join, I would really appreciate if you could enter the panel number 916062 into your application to confirm the referral. Redclive | Click here to sign up * Payout option: Cheques sent by post * Redclive payment proof email | Redclive payment proof * This is my favorite Irish survey site. They pay 1€ for every 5 minutes spent. * The only downside is that you need to reach 50€ to receive your cheque. Once you reach that amount, they will send you a cheque automatically by post and that takes 2 to 3 weeks. IrishOpinions | Click here to sign up * Payout options: Amazon, Tesco, Penneys, TK Maxx and more. * IrishOpinions payment proof email | IrishOpinions payment proof Tesco gift card * Same as Redclive. They don’t pay as well but you can cash out once you reach 10€ Toluna | Click here to sign up * Payout options: PayPal, Spotify and Homesense * Surveys and play games like memory cards and MatchMania (similar to candy crush). Acumen Panel | Click here to sign up * Payout options: AllGifts.ie voucher * Acumen payment proof email | Payment proof AllGifts.ie voucher * Surveys. They pay as much as Redclive (1€ for every 5 minutes spent) but I don't get many surveys from them. I've had one survey from them very recently that took me about 10 minutes for 250 points (2.5€). Media Opinions Ireland | Click here to sign up * Payout options: One4all and iTunes. * Daily short survey. I don’t get many other surveys from them.
https://preview.redd.it/hml53mmh5er41.png?width=568&format=png&auto=webp&s=3f0cd662e1836bcb2ea37793cbbbfd6f8a5e9723 Zhuling Chen It’s always great to hang out in this group. This group means a lot to the Aelf community. It is the first Aelf community and has been there through all the ups and downs in the world. I would like to start with wishing everyone is staying safe at home during the virus outbreak. It definitely has been a difficult time for all of us, but together we can pull through it. We understand that the situation is quite striking to all of us. But I really believe that the solution to the virus outbreak is about more global coordination and collaboration. All of you to be assured, our team in different places are all safe and working from home as normal. The Aelf team in Beijing were among the early ones experiencing the virus outbreak. As everyone was on the way home for Lunar New Year holiday and then experienced a total city lock-down followed by a 40 days’ work from home policy. It was definitely not easy for them, but our team stayed strong, took necessary precautions and focused on work with the right morale. Mappo has recently published some tips on how to work from home effectively based on our experience. Do check it out. Despite not working in the office since February, we have achieved great progress, including launching Aelf 1.0 preview, which is an important milestone in technical delivery and also the roadmap to mainnet launch (which listed out the essential steps for the community to work together to launch a successful public network) Let's first talk about Aelf v1.0 preview. It is the cornerstone of the mainnet launch. The product itself has all the features that the public network is needed. The codebase has been reviewed and tested rigorously by the team. And a few highlights of how the network would look like:
The code allows a stable and high throughput blockchain network to operate publicly.
For developers, they will love how flexible the system is to be customized, the number of tools and documentation to help them start developing applications on the network
For the whole community, the system is an ever-evolving one where the voting system is ready in place to conduct network-wide voting on various topics, such as transaction fee adjustment, network protocol upgrade, incentive adjustment, etc
Aelf system is able to run multi-chain architecture where each side chain will host different applications and still ready to work with each other
So you may ask since the software is ready, why have we not yet launched the public network? The answer, in short, is that a public blockchain is launched not by a team but through a community effort and that's why we are coordinating the community effort based on the roadmap we proposed. Aelf team has launched the public testnet based on Aelf v1.0 preview and currently, all nodes are under the team. The goal is to let the community and elected nodes to take it over and launch it on a global scale. Not only launch it but also be familiar with the network and also set the launch parameters in a decentralized way. If we take a car as an example, we have made the car, but ultimately the drivers are you guys and therefore before it really hits on the road, we need to guide the community to do a test drive, adjust the car based on what really works for YOU, and ultimately let YOU drive the car freely and safely So how are we going to help the community launch the network: First of all, we have launched the codes, documents about the economic system and governance model and technical features. With all the things available, you are able to understand what the system is about, as a token holder what's your benefit in the system, and being a node in the system plays a big role in the governance Next, without yet electing the nodes, we will get all token holders to join the current Aelf network through a mapping event. That means as long as you have Aelf tokens, you will be able to get 1:1 test tokens on the public testnet. that gives you full access to all the features, and you will feel like you are already using the mainnet. You will get rewarded in making transactions, voting, etc. Do try out the Aelf wallet and voting features, you will see how easy to transfer tokens cross-chain. and also how flexible the system allows people to make changes. For example, the community may want to adjust the block rewarding parameters or fees to use certain services on mainnet, they can initiate a discussion and then vote in the system and once voted through, it will be reflected on mainnet. For people or organizations that want to play a bigger role in the system, we will do a dry run of node election. Take it as the real node election before mainnet launch. We will see who the active members of the community are and being trusted by the community. Among the nodes, we will form a network launch committee. The committee will be the crucial party to oversees and ensures the smooth launch of Aelf mainnet, instead of just relying on the Aelf team. This is our step towards decentralization. The committee will agree on the actual launch process, final checking all the parameters in the system to be ready for launch and then decide when the criteria are met to launch the network. Once all that is decided. We will invite all interested nodes to apply for the election and let the community know what's their plan to grow the Aelf network. the network will initially be launched with a few nodes from the committee and gradually be replaced by the selected nodes (a bootstrap phase). Along the way, we will work with exchanges to conduct token swap (which we are also designing an innovative system to further enhance security and usability of Aelf tokens in exchanges) Among this isolated and worrisome time, at least we all have something to look forward to: a successful launch of Aelf network! Once it is launched, we are excited to see a vibrant and technically superior network that is good for Dapps to run on top of it. https://preview.redd.it/yp28n1jj5er41.png?width=559&format=png&auto=webp&s=c470cdedd7f8923f29a3b1bd777476f22cc76521 Doris Guo Q1: As a Blockchain start-up, what difficulties have you overcome when starting Aelf project? What motivates you to solve difficulties and achieve success today? Zhuling Chen First, just like launching any start-up, its community and investors are usually regional. There is always some bias on if Asian projects are solid. It is really rare to have an Asian project to be supported by western funds and community from day 1. We were lucky to have overcome that obstacle. Having a global investor line-up from day 1. Having a global team from day 1 and also working with a global community from day 1. This benefited us to have an international perspective which is crucial in the blockchain industry. Secondly, as a hardcore technology company, it is really hard to put in plain words what is our ambition. Our ambition is huge, achieving key innovations in multiple fronts of blockchain technology and organically combined them to serve real users for the future. Our marketing team has been working really hard to elaborate on what Aelf is. Now we have come to a point that the product is ready. Therefore, it is much easier for all of us to understand how solid Aelf is by trying out the network ourselves! That's exactly what the following events will be about - Try out all the exciting features of Aelf network before mainnet launch. Doris Guo Q2: What critical problems do you see occurring in the blockchain industry nowadays? How does Aelf solve these problems? Haobo Ma First, we need to distinguish the difference between BTC and ETH. One is Digital Cash and the other is the Smart Contract Platform. Aelf addresses most of the latter's problems. In short, it can be summarized as performance, end-user friendly, developer-friendly, network economy, and self-governance and upgrading. Each of these areas will probably take up a lot of space, and as a whole are the issues described in our two white papers. In short, Aelf is faster, end-users do not need to know the rules of the blockchain, developers can set up the development environment in 10 minutes, have a good economic model and can carry out proposal governance on the chain. Doris Guo Q3: What is your long-term vision about the industry which Aelf is working at? Are you afraid someday there will be another project with more innovative technology can replace Aelf? Haobo Ma Let's talk about where Aelf stands in the traditional Internet. It is essentially a cloud service provider, Aelf provides resources and infrastructure for developers to deploy their services, known as smart contracts. We eventually want Aelf to grow like AAA (Amazon, Azure, AliCloud). Because Aelf is a network that can be dynamically scaled, we can accept any new technology, some of the more advanced technologies we can put on a side chain. Doris Guo Q4: Why did Aelf choose for cross-chain interaction? Haobo Ma As I mentioned earlier, Aelf solves the Smart Contract Platform problem. However, there are other digital cash problems as well which we would need to use existing infrastructure such as Bitcoin's chain in order to interact with Bitcoin. There are a lot of infrastructures on Ethereum that we want to interact with. Multi-chain on Aelf network mainly is to isolate resources to improve network performance and network stability. Doris Guo Q5: What difficulties do the Aelf team have now (I talk about COVID-19)? How does the Aelf team solve it? Have you changed the roadmap? Haobo Ma There is no great impact. The teams in Singapore and Beijing are communicating with each other remotely on a regular basis. The only change is that most of us are now working from home which has no impact and in fact, it seems conducive to the acceptance of more community developers in the future to come. From the internal working schedule and development timeline, there is no great impact. We do not publish specific timeline as we do not want short term holders (traders) to create too much negative pressure on product development. Doris Guo Q6: Aelf is an open-source blockchain, and there's the common problem of taking a substantial amount of time for the different participants to agree on strategic decisions. What types of governance models do you use in Aelf to address this issue??? Haobo Ma The issue is about public blockchain network, and who can decide the direction of the network. Our answer is long-term holders. For the short-term holders (traders), we refuse to allow them to participate in any discussion of the direction of Aelf because the short-term holders are likely to make a profit and sell quickly, which is essentially the same example of a person who cheats the President and then runs away for his personal gain. We defined a number of proposal processes, including the logic of the two-party system in the United States, and the participation in the referendum to ensure that the final proposal represents the majority. At the same time, we are looking for some legal solutions to avoid bifurcation, such as prohibiting exchanges from intervening in bifurcated new tokens. While we cannot limit a community, we should be able to find ways to limit a centralized organization. This restriction is akin to a ban on national secession. Doris Guo Q7: How will Aelf empower Investors, Companies, Developers, Platform Users to deliver impactful solutions and bring value to people all over the world? Haobo Ma We will learn from the operational experience of successful foundations such as the LINUX foundation and license some commercial companies to use Aelf solutions to solve business problems. At the same time, Aelf is an open-source product under the MIT License, and we accept any use that does not violate this open-source principle. Zhuling Chen Let me add on to Haobo’s statement: to incentivize and empower the community, we are also exploring ways to let the community decide how to use the funds for Aelf (allocate to where it matters to our community) once mainnet is launched. This means you guys can decide what are the projects to be funded on Aelf, etc Doris Guo Q8：When will the node campaign start? How will Aelf attract users to participate in nodes election? Haobo Ma According to our published roadmap, the timeline can be dynamic, but I don't think it will be too long. The main idea is to let everyone understand what we envision Aelf to be like, and what are the rights and benefits of being a node in the future. We hope to find nodes that fully recognize the efforts of Aelf at the present stage and are willing to participate in the future development of Aelf. We will run a simulation of the node campaign on the testnet and set up a temporary mainnet launch committee. Please follow our official Twitter for more upcoming details! Doris Guo Q9: Token swap form 2 is some kind of cross-chain transfer? It will be handled by a smart contract? Haobo Ma It is handled by the smart contract, we define an asset cross-chain transfer protocol, but it may be opened after a snapshot. Doris Guo Q10: Which Exchanges will support token swap? Do you have any plan to list Aelf in some big exchange like Binance, Houbi, Kucoin, .......? Haobo Ma We are already in talks with some exchanges, there is still competition between exchanges, and many are still hoping to attract more users by getting access to mainnet token swap early. Doris Guo Q11: Aside conversion of the current tokens to mainnet tokens, what other main features will be accomplished with the mainnet launch? Haobo Ma We have a documentation file that has been published, which has listed some features: https://Aelf.io/gridcn/Aelf_public_testnet_and_supporting_features_introduction_en_v1.0.pdf Doris Guo Q12: Do you have any plan to burn or buyback your coin? Haobo Ma We have plans for the community to govern through DAO, we have no interest in short-term price incentive adjustment as we would prefer to drive the project to higher adoption. After mainnet starts operation, there will be a part of network revenue get destroyed automatically. Doris Guo Q13: Often, as a newbie developer, I face difficulties on most blockchains. How easy and convenient is it for me on Aelf, and what programming language and tools are needed?? Haobo Ma We set up staging for DAPP developers on GitHub and configured CI. Develop a smart contract using C# with React Native on the front end. So, in fact, developers can fork the source code without setting up the environment locally, and you can conduct unit testing with the help of CI. You can also release the smart contract and generate the installation package of iOS and android online. https://github.com/AElfProject/Aelf-boilerplate Doris Guo Q14: What is the progress of business development and what are some of your commercial partnerships? How will Aelf rapidly develop the number & performance of DAPP? Haobo Ma First of all, the blockchain industry is still fairly small and users with ETH and EOS wallets are considered a very small group and its not effective to even promote within these groups. What we need to consider is how to enable users who have never been exposed to blockchain to use DAPP. The competitiveness of Aelf is to make it easier for Aelf developers to promote their DAPP to ordinary users, rather than to teach ordinary users a lot on blockchain knowledge. The average user doesn't like to hear about private keys, mnemonic, Gas Price, RAM, CPU, etc. Only until we solve such problems, companies that need to solve problems through blockchain will be more inclined to use Aelf in technology selection. Therefore, our main work is to explain the competitive advantages of Aelf, ETH and EOS to everyone. We have some business cooperation’s, but we also believe that simply through case-by-case business cooperation will not be able to gain adoption so quickly, therefore we still need to put our products to stay ahead of the next generation. Doris Guo Q15: What other activities can encourage more people to be confident about Aelf? Haobo Ma We are only going to state the truth by having those that have faith in us to stay and those that don't to leave. The development of Aelf is not driven by a single foundation, but by a steady stream of contributions from the community. In the future, we will also place the activities in the DAO for on-chain governance, and let the community make decisions by itself. https://preview.redd.it/e66vhqvl5er41.png?width=555&format=png&auto=webp&s=412a2dd831ba3817806e48855f158482bf671770 Kun Aguero As you know that in the present market situation many new coins or either dying or thriving for liquidity? How will you manage this liquidity problem? Zhuling Chen Aelf started in 2017. we have gone through a few cycles in the market, still, remember the big down period in 2018-2019. Aelf is financially solid and the team has always been working hard. if you are referring to liquidity in exchanges, we are among the lucky ones that are listed in all major exchanges Xinshu Dong Hello, great discussions! I would like to ask what are the criteria to join the committee for launching the mainnet? Would love to participate Zhuling Chen Hi xinshu, great to see you here. The committee will be chosen among the nodes elected during the testnet dry run. Which means, it is really important to participate in the testnet dry run and also start to establish your reputation in the community so that people will elect you as a node. The detailed criteria will include what is your plan to help Aelf to grow, tech competency and reputation. An Da What are Aelf’s achievements in 2019? Who had supported you to get those things? Zhuling Chen To name a few, in 2019, Aelf is one of the most active projects on GitHub. This means Aelf is evolving and improving fast in this space and our team has the tech strength. In addition, we have also successfully listed on all major cloud service providers, such as AWS, Azure, Google. So large companies can easily launch Aelf side chains in their organization with minimum hassle. John How does the voting for master nodes candidates occur? And why is the development of this system important for your project? Zhuling Chen Voting is going to be pretty simple. All token holders can vote for the nodes they support on our block explorer. Miha After mainnet lunch, how will you assure that transactional fees will stay low? We know what sometimes happens to fees on ETH blockchain. Zhuling Chen First of all, due to the fact that is Aelf is scalability, this will reduce transaction fee. Secondly, all transaction fees will be voted by the nodes (which will be elected by you). So they will represent your interest Bobbyfernandito Currently, as we see All projects are concerned with the speed and security. So, tell us here - what are the facilities Aelf provide to their user and investors? Haobo Ma Security: we have an automated smart contract code audit. During contract deployment, production nodes and the community audit participation are required. On the other hand, we are also planning to provide a standardized model of centralized exchange access for 100% asset certification and emergency measures to deal with exchange attacks, which we will be released later. Speed: Aelf has been working on improving performance, which is transparent to users which they can also experience by themselves. An Da What effect does Aelf token have on the Aelf ecosystem? Holding Aelf, what benefits will users receive? Zhuling Chen Holding ELF enables you to use all the services on the Aelf network. ELF has a deflating system where the total amount will reduce as the network grows. token holders can also vote for the nodes to run the network and also vote for big decisions in the network. part of the fees in the system will also be distributed to token holders via a smart contract ahihi132 Which companies do you view them as potential partners and that they are somewhat also beneficial for both the user base and Aelf itself? Zhuling Chen Great question, if I could write a wish list, that will be: let medium-sized financial institutions to use Aelf to challenge the big boys. Let telecommunication companies use Aelf for micro-payment and other innovative business models. We also would like to try out a few public sector projects, which blockchain will is still more transparency and trust Misun Q1: Which programming languages are you using in your project? And why? Q2-What are another big MILESTONES you have planned for 2020 roadmap and how are they supposed to benefit your costumers? Will it be an exciting year? Haobo Ma For Q1: We mainly use C# for development, I personally like it. Performance is good, development environment IDEs are strong, and C# creators are influential in the industry. We believe in the right thing, though it may take a while to develop. The smart contract will then add support for multiple languages, such as WebAssembly, depending on the needs of the community. Now it seems that C# is enough. Hambi crypto Which platforms are your competitors? How will you soar above them, and what better things do you offer than them? So, What’s your outlook on the future of cryptocurrencies in this year and next few years? Haobo Ma As I have already mentioned this before, Eth and Eos. We provide better performance, cross-chain support (already implemented), end-users do not need to know the details of the blockchain, developer’s payment models and so on. Floris-Jan What plans is Aelf making to prevent centralized exchange to take over the DPoS algorithm like what happened to Steem? Are we talking about blacklisting exchange wallets, or having the foundation say "No", or putting all trust in the community? Zhuling Chen Great question, Floris. I’m not going to give away all the details of what Haobo has proposed to work on this, but in a nutshell, in Aelf system, exchange wallets will not be allowed to vote, but only the sub-wallets for each individual can vote. This will also help exchanges to prevent hacking and theft in the future Alex What your plans in place for global expansion, are Aelf wallet focusing on the only market at this time? Or focus on building and developing or getting customers and users, or partnerships? Can you explain this? Haobo Ma Our core focus will be through the developers to promote, developers will help Aelf to attract more users. So our product has to be attractive to developers. Just like AWS, they only focus on getting their service right, their developers will think about how to promote it. We don't want to burden them in their promotion process. Ellkay What do you think are the major threats and barriers that could face the development and adoption of Aelf? Haobo Ma If I'm a DAPP developer and I need to promote my APP to people who don't recognize blockchain, then I'd like to choose a platform that doesn't have to explain a lot of blockchain details to the end-user, so they can use it easily. We've provided some options in the Boilerplate that allow you to log-in simply via QR code + Password, and our recommended Dapp is an independent wallet and a separate iOS/Android application. ahihi132 Give me some important reasons why we need to hold Aelf token where in fact hundreds of projects failed and it went to bankruptcy or even developers run when they collect millions/billions of funds? Haobo Ma First of all, we will not give any suggestions as we only describe the fact that the long-term token holder will be able to govern the Aelf network, get Aelf mining reward and Aelf network profit. At the same time, Aelf network is a deflation model, Aelf network received transaction fees, profit dividends will immediately destroy 10% etc. All investments are risky, and we don't judge the behaviour of other developers. There are so many things in this world that cannot be understood and unfair. It is important to do our job well. I cannot explain these things. 胖见愁 I remember that boss Ma mentioned to only find those truly innovative applications and enterprises with blockchain, how to find and win partners in these aspects? Haobo Ma When Linus was developing Linux, I did not think he would find a lot of collaboration when the code was not good. The response we can give is that we already have a lot of interest in cooperation, including what we have announced, what we have not announced, etc. 胖见愁 How interested are cloud computing providers in participating nodes? Haobo Ma The vast majority of our nodes should be using cloud services, and as long as a large number of our 17 nodes and other candidate nodes are based on cloud services, our network robustness is determined by these cloud computing providers. Of course, in the expansion, we can also use cloud computing services.
For what I hope are obvious reasons, I don't want, and probably will never post my threat model publicly online. However, regardless of that, what I'm sure you will extrapolate from this post is that I live my life, digitally in particular, with a fairly high level threat model. This is not because I'm some super sophisticated criminal mastermind, but rather, I am at this level because I genuinely love playing around with this stuff. And I just happen to understand the importance of privacy and just how vital it is to a truly healthy society. I would like to extend a thanks to ProgressiveArchitect for the sharing of the knowledge they have done on this subreddit, /privacytoolsio, and the like. We may have never interacted, but nevertheless, your input into this community is truly interesting and extremely informative and educating. I'm sure those of you familiar with PA's setup will be able to draw some parallels with mine and their's. Thank you. I hope you all enjoy reading this write up.
I run Qubes OS on a Lenovo ThinkPad X230 laptop. Specs for it are as following: - i7-3520M - 16GB RAM - 1TB Samsung 860 Evo SSD - Qualcomm Atheros AR9285 wireless card Additionally, I used a Raspberry Pi Model 3B+ and a Pomono SPI clip to replace the stock BIOS firmware with coreboot+me_cleaner. This wasn't done out of any "real" concern for the Intel ME (though of course proprietary black-boxes like it should be avoided at all costs and not trusted), but rather for open source enthusiasm and for increased security and faster boot times than what the stock BIOS firmware allows for. On that note about the ME, I don't believe the conspiracy theories that claim that it is a state-sponsored attack method for surveillance. I believe that Intel had good intentions for improving the lives of IT professionals who need to manage hundreds, if not thousands of remote machines. However, it has proven time and time again to be insecure, and I don't need the remote management and the "features" that it provides on my machines. In Qubes, I use a combination of AppVMs and StandaloneVMs for a variety of different purposes. All VMs use PVH over HVM, except for the Mirage Unikernel Firewall, which uses PV, and the sys-net and sys-usb StandaloneVMs which have to use HVM because of PCI device passthrough. Right now most of my VMs are AppVMs, but for maintenance and compartmentalization reasons, I am considering moving more towards StandaloneVMs, despite the increase in disk space and bandwidth usage for updates. General route of from Qubes to the Internet for anonymous browsing, general private browsing, accessing Uni services, and Uni-related anonymous browsing respectively: 1. Qubes->sys-mirage-firewall->sys-vpn-wg->sys-corridor->sys-whonix->whonix-ws-15-dvm to the internet. 2. Qubes->sys-mirage-firewall->sys-vpn-wg to the Internet. 3. Qubes->sys-mirage-firewall->uni-vpn-wg to the Internet. 4. Qubes->sys-mirage-firewall->uni-vpn-wg->uni-corridor->uni-whonix->uni-anon-research to the Internet.
(Note: the VPN name is substituted in the "vpn" above. I had to remove it to comply with this subreddit's rules. It is easy to identify what VPN it is as it randomly generates a long numaric string and has fantastic support for WireGuard.)
fedora-29-minimal: Base for the minimal VMs.
fedora-29-uni-persist: Template for uni-campus and uni-home AppVMs.
crypto: A work in progress VM for handling crypto transaction using cleansed Bitcoin and Monero.
printing: Exactly as it sounds like. It is firewalled to only be able to connect to the network printer on my home network.
sys-corridor: corridor is a Tor traffic whitelisting gateway that provides network to sys-whonix. It helps to provide an additional failsafe to defend against clearnet attacks.
sys-mirage-firewall: A version of the Mirage Unikernel to act as an extremely minimal and resource light firewall. It is configured to only allow connections to the individual IP addresses my VPN's WireGuard servers as well as a select few internal IP addresses on my home network (router, home server, and Pi-Hole).
uni-corridor: See sys-corridor for description. Provides network to uni-whonix.
sys-usb: USB stack isolation VM. Uses fedora minimal now.
uni-vpn-wg: A Uni ProxyVM for my VPN.
uni-net: A ProxyVM for all Uni-related domains. Based off fedora minimal.
uni-shared: Acts as an SMB network share for uni-campus and uni-home so that the documents and emails can be accessed easily between them.
fedora-29-dvm: Default disposable Fedora VM.
whonix-ws-15-dvm: Default disposable Whonix VM. This is where I do 95% of my online browsing.
calendar: Exactly as it's named. Has a firewall rule to only allow connections to posteo.de.
nas-access: Used to access my NAS and to watch content on it.
pihole-access: Used to access my Pi-Hole through Firefox. Has a firewall rule to only allow connections to its IP address.
router-access: Used to access my router through Firefox. Has a firewall so its only able to connect to 192.168.0.1.
personal: Personal domain. Used to check personal emails, read rss feeds, stream YouTube videos, and internet banking.
repos: Local copy of my repos. Has a firewall rule to only allow connections to the site hosting my git repo.
uni-anon-resarch: Research for Uni.
uni-campus: Domain for doing Uni work on campus.
uni-home: Domain for doing Uni work at home.
uni-whonix: Seperate Whonix gateway for Uni research.
offline-archive-manager: For managing the offline archives that I burn to DVDs.
personal-archive: Exactly as it's named.
sys-whonix: Default Whonix gateway ProxyVM.
vault: For storing GPG keys and other files.
vault-dvm: DVM with no internet access. The Vault VMs use this as their DisposableVM.
work-archive: Storing work archive documents (payslips, employment information, etc).
Phone: Motorola Moto G5s running Lineage OS 16.0 Pie no G-Apps or micro-G with the following Apps: - AdAway: Open Source hosts file-based ad blocker. (Requires root.) - AFWall+: Linux iptables front end. (Requires root.) - Amaze: File manager. - andOPT: 2FA app. I like it since it can export the entries to an AES encrypted file. - AntennaPod: Podcast manager. - AnySoftKeyboard - Simple Calendar - Simple Contacts Pro - DAVx5: CalDav syncronization with my calendar on my Posteo email account. - F-Droid - Fennec F-Droid: Web Browser. Has the same Firefox addons like on Qubes minus Vim Vixen. I used the app Privacy Settings to configure the about:config. - KeePassDX: Password manager. - KISS launcher - Magisk Manager - NewPipe: YouTube app replacement. - S.Notes: Standard Notes. - OsmAnd~: Maps and navigation. - Red Moon: Blue light filter. - SELinuxModeChanger: Exactly as it sounds. (Requires root.) - Shelter: Work profile manager. - Signal: Messaging. - Vinyl Music Player: Music player. - WireGuard: VPN protocol frontend. Is configured to use my VPN account. Is setup as an always-on and connected VPN. As mentioned, I use Shelter to manage my work profile. In it I isolate the following apps: - Clover: *chan browser. - Orbot: For routing apps through Tor. Is setup as an always-on and connected VPN. - RedReader: Reddit client. - Tor Browser Over the last several years, I have started using my phone less and less and taking advantage of less of what it has got to offer. I don't check email on my device. I have no real need to browse the Internet on it outside of watching videos using NewPipe, browsing Reddit, and various *chan boards. On the Smart Phone side of things, I am considering purchasing an older used iPhone SE or 6S for use with MySudo when outside of my home as well as an iPod Touch for use on WiFi only for use inside my home. The iPhone would be kept inside of a faraday bag when I am at home and not using it. It would also be kept in the faraday bag whenever at home to avoid associating that device with my home address. The iPod Touch would be used for MySudo calls instead. Future outlook and plan for my privacy and security: To avoid as much deanonymisation of my privacy as possible, I'm only going to specify enough so that anyone reading this can get the jist of my situation in life. I am quite young (age 16 to 25) and I started along this privacy journey when I was even younger. I was never a very heavy social media user, however I did have an online presence if you looked hard enough. My name fortunately is a very common and short name, so that does help to bury information that I was not able to remove further in the vast trenches that is the Internet. On the digital side of things, I mentioned that I have a dedicated Crypto AppVM for handling crypto currency transactions using Bisq. I have setup a dedicated bank account that I have periodically been transferring money into so that I can trade crypto. Unfortunately, I do not live in the US, so being able to effectively start trades with others is more difficult. I also do not have access to a credit card masking account like privacy.com (that I absolutely would use given the ability). I plan on getting an anonymous VPS to host my own Tor exit node for better speeds and to mitigate the possibility of malicious exit nodes. The country I live in has been a proponent of absolute dragnet surveillance on all activities occurring online and in real life, though the former is far more visible on this subreddit. I will be using crypto with cleaned Bitcoin (as seen with ProgressiveArchitect's setup) for purchasing my VPN service, etc. With future hardware, to replace my aging laptop, I am very hopeful for Xen, then eventually Qubes OS getting ported to Power9. When that happens I'll be getting a Raptor Computing Blackbird as a desktop. Maybe in the future I'll get a Purism Librem laptop, but for now my corebooted X230 works perfectly for my use cases. On that note, I have successfully build the Heads firmware for the X230 and I was able to get the minimal 4MB image flashed on my laptop. I did revert it back to my coreboot setup after playing around a little with it, and unfortunately I haven't had time since to do a full, complete flash of it. On the physical/real life side of things, I plan on making use of various Trusts in order to hold assets, say to keep my name from being immediately visible on the title of my car. As of right now I am fortunate enough to have the title of my car under the name of someone who I trust. Unless I am legally required, and where there are immediate and absolute consequences, I use fake names in real life. With Uni, I am enrolled under my real name and address. This is a requirement and it is verified, so there is nothing that I can realistically do about it. As for other services, I plan on setting up a personal mailbox (PMB), etc if possible to use as a real, physical address that is associated with my real name and that is used for things like Government issued ID. In the future when I move again, I plan on renting a place in cash to try and keep my name dissociated with my real address. For those looking for reasoning on why one would want to do that, please read How to be Invisible by J.J. Luna. It's truly the Bible of physical privacy. At this stage I am just going off on a ramble, so I should cut it short here. I have just started and I live for this shit.
Welcome All to the GPUMining Crash Course! With the increase in prices in cryptocurrency, a lot of people are getting back into mining and a lot of people are brand new to the concept overall. So, I quickly wrote this crash course to help you understand what to expect and how to successfully mine your first cryptocurrency. This crash course isn't gonna have all of the fluff you'd see in a normal publication. This is just everything you need to know to get up and running on your first cryptocurrency mining rig.
What is cryptocurrency mining?
One of the main things about cryptocurrencies is that they are "decentralized". Sounds great, but WTF does that even mean? Well, the easiest way to explain it is... You know how if you want to send your friend/family money digitally, you can do so through your bank. Your bank likely takes a transaction fee and in a few days they will transfer the money. Since cryptocurrencies are decentralized, they don't have a bank or organization to fulfill the transfer of money. Instead, they outsource the computing power of their cryptocurrency network to miners (soon to be you). These miners are verifying transactions, securing the blockchain, and powering the cryptocurrency's specific network among other things. As an incentive, the miners collect transaction fees on the transactions that they verify and collect block rewards while new currency is still being introduced into the ecosystem.
What kind of rig should I build?
You can mine cryptocurrencies using your CPU, GPU, FPGA, or ASIC, but this is a GPU Mining subreddit, so I will cater this to GPUs. For building a great all-around GPU rig, there are two models of GPUs that I'd recommend:
Both of these GPUs have solid hashrates across most mining algorithms and for a decent price! You should be able to find both of these kinds of GPUs used for around $200-$250 each, which is a great price if you know what happened during the last mining craze! ($200 GPUs were out of stock everywhere and people were reselling them for $600+ each) There are also plenty of great AMD GPUs for mining, but I've worked mostly with Nvidia so that's why both of my recommendations are Nvidia and not AMD. Other parts to your rig that you'll need are listed below. Most of these can be pieces of crap and are just needed to make the rig actually run, but the one spot you DON'T want to cheap out on is the power supply unit. A decent power supply unit will keep your home from burning down while also keeping your rigs up and running smoothly. Here are my recommendations:
Motherboard - This Motherboard can hold up to 6 GPUs (considered a full rig) with the use of risers. It is decently priced and will fit nearly any mining rig upgrades that you make in the future.
CPU - You really just need the most basic CPU you can find, it's not very essential to mining unless you're CPU mining, but even then... CPU mining isn't very profitable for how expensive CPUs can be.
RAM - All you really need is about 4GB to keep this thing running. If you want more, go for it, but it's not neccessary in most cases.
Power Switch - Doesn't need to be fancy, just needs to turn the thing on and off
PowerSupply - Don't cheap out here! Pay for a quality PSU and save yourself the headache and be safe with a solid PSU. Get a GOLD quality PSU at a MINIMUM! Platinum is good too, but probably unnecessary. The linked 1300w PSU will support most 6 GPU rigs, if you're going for higher tier GPUs like a 1080ti and above or if you're having more than 6 GPUs on a single rig then you'll need something stronger.
GPU Risers - I use this kind. They work and they're not shitty. They do require 6pin for power. Use a Molex converter if needed, but going 6pin directly from your PSU is best. Your 8+6pin will probably be a little bit short, so you'll need some 6pin extenders. EVGA will sell them you for a few bucks each, but you have to call as they're not listed on the site. DON'T YOU DARE THINK OF USING A SATA CONNECTION UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR ENTIRE MINING OPERATION TO BURN DOWN AND TAKE EVERYTHING ELSE WITH IT! SATA IS NOT RATED FOR THE POWER THAT YOU NEED!!!!
Kilowatt Meter - So that you can monitor your power consumption from the wall (much more accurate than trying to calculate each piece of hardware individually). Also helps when overclocking for a higher efficiency.
120GB Solid State Drive - SSDs are pretty damn cheap now. Just get it instead of your prehistoric HDD. Also, make sure you get AT LEAST 120GB! Many of the popular cryptocurrencies like BEAM and GRIN will demand quite a bit of virtual memory, so you'll need the extra space on your SSD to compensate for that.
Something to put your rig on - This one seems to be popular, but pretty much anything will do. I literally used a shoe rack and zip ties. You just need something that will give the GPUs airflow to breathe and keep the rig organized as a whole.
Windows 10/Linux Operating System - Pretty self explanatory here. Don't go with any of the MAC OS or Apple Products. They're extremely over priced and nearly useless in the mining world.
She's built, now what?
Now you need to do a few things. I am a Windows miner, so I will be speaking to Windows here:
Update Windows - Do all of the updates. Just do it.
Update Drivers - Go to the EVGA website and download GeForce experience. It will keep your GPU drivers up to date.
Go to Windows Device Manager and make sure all of your GPUs show up under "Display Adapters". If it is there, but it isn't showing the Name/Model of the GPU as the name, right click it and select "Update Driver". This should fix it.
Assuming you've done all of this, you're ready to download a mining application.
There are tons to choose from! Claymore, Phoenix, EWBF, LolMiner, etc... It can be overwhelming pretty quickly since they all have different algorithm support, speeds, efficiencies, and a whole lot more. On top of that, in order to get them running you need to set up batch files to call the proper exe, point you to the correct pool, and a whole bunch of other stuff that can be confusing to a new user. Not to mention, you will probably need a separate miner, config file, batch file, etc. for each different algorithm that you're interested in mining on. Instead, I recommend that you download a miner management software that will take care of most of this tedious work for you. There are a few in the sidebar, but the /GPUMining favorite is AIOMiner. It was developed by our very own community member, xixspiderxix with the intention of making mining as easy as possible to do and without any fees. It supports over 100 different algorithms, so you'll be able to mine nearly ANY cryptocurrency you'd like. Just download it from their website and it will take you through a quick tutorial to help you get set up! You can also connect your rig to their website for remote monitoring and control. You've probably seen a few of their posts around this subreddit. Other Windows mining softwares include:
many more you can find from google searching
Note: Many mining softwares have fees built into them. Most are around 1%, but can go as high as 5% or greater! You want a mining software with little or no fees at all so that you get to keep as much cryptocurrency as possible. These fees aren't something you actively pay, the software will automatically take it by mining on the developers behalf for a given amount of time and then switching back to mining on your own behalf. So, please be diligent in the software that you evaluate and make sure it is reputable.
I keep hearing about NiceHash. What is that?
The asshole of the mining industry. Jk, but not really. NiceHash is a software program that allows you to sell your rig's hashing power to someone on their marketplace. They market themselves as profitable mining, but you're not really mining. You're selling your power in exchange for Bitcoin. They did a great job telling people that with them, you're always mining the most profitable coin, but that's just not true. Since it is a mining marketplace, they make you mine whatever their most expensive contract is. If their contracts are below market prices, then you're not operating as efficiently and profitably as you could be. NiceHash also has a sketchy history, which continues to this day. In 2017, they were hacked and lost $65M worth of Bitcoin. No one got paid out for MONTHS and many of their executives conveniently resigned. Their platform is also used to destroy cryptocurrencies. Since people are able to purchase mining power on their platform, people have used their platform to purchase enough mining power to control individual cryptocurrencies and duplicate coins, which increased the malicious user's wealth while completely destroying the integrity of the coin's blockchain. HoriZEN (formerly ZenCash), Ethereum Classic, and many other great cryptocurrencies have been the victim of NiceHash's platform. For this and many other reasons, we highly recommend that you stay AWAY from Nicehash. We understand that it is extremely easy to use and you get paid in bitcoin, but they are destroying the industry with their greed and lack of motivation to change their platform for the protection of cryptocurrencies.
This is pretty much everything you need to know to get started. We covered the hardware, setting up the software, which software to use, and AIOMiner's tutorial will get you up to speed on how to actually mine the cryptocurrency that you want better than I can explain it, so I'll leave that part to them. If you have any questions on this crash course, please leave a comment below where myself and other community members will be able to help you out.
The importance of being mindful of security at all times - nearly everyone is one breach away from total disaster
This is a long one - TL;DR at the end!
If you haven't heard yet: BlankMediaGames, makers of Town of Salem, have been breached which resulted in almost 8 million accounts being leaked. For most people, the first reaction is "lol so what it's just a game, why should I really care?" and that is the wrong way to look at it. I'd like to explain why everyone should always care whenever they are part of a breach. I'd also like to talk about some ways game developers - whether they work solo or on a team - can take easy steps to help protect themselves and their customers/players. First I'd like to state that there is no practical way to achieve 100% solid security to guarantee you'll never be breached or part of a breach. The goal here will be to get as close as possible, or comfortable, so that you can rest easy knowing you can deal with problems when they occur (not if, when).
Why You Should Care About Breaches
The sad reality is most people re-use the same password everywhere. Your email account, your bank account, your steam account, your reddit account, random forums and game websites - you get the idea. If you haven't pieced it together yet the implication is that if anyone gets your one password you use everywhere, it's game over for you - they now own all of your accounts (whether or not they know it yet). Keep in mind that your email account is basically the holy grail of passwords to have. Most websites handle password changes/resets through your email; thus anyone who can login to your email account can get access to pretty much any of your accounts anywhere. Game over, you lose.
But wait, why would anyone want to use my password? I'm nobody!
It doesn't matter, the bad guys sell this information to other bad guys. Bots are used to make as much use of these passwords as possible. If they can get into your bank they might try money transfers. If they get into your Amazon account they might spin up $80,000 worth of servers to mine Bitcoin (or whatever coin is popular at the time). They don't care who you are; it's all automated. By the way, according to this post (which looks believable enough to be real) this is pretty much how they got into the BMG servers initially. They checked for usernames/emails of admins on the BMG website(s) in previous breach dumps (of which there are many) and found at least one that used the same password on other sites - for their admin account! If you want to see how many of your accounts are already breached check out Have I Been Pwned - I recommend registering all of your email addresses as well so you get notified of future breaches. This is how I found out about the Town of Salem breach, myself.
How You Can Protect Yourself
Before I go into all the steps you can (and should) take to protect yourself I should note that security is in a constant tug of war with convenience. What this means is that the more security measures you apply the more inconvenienced you become for many tasks. It's up to you to decide how much is too much either way. First of all I strongly recommend registering your email(s) on https://haveibeenpwned.com/ - this is especially important if your email address is associated to important things like AWS, Steam developer account, bank accounts, social media, etc. You want to know ASAP when an account of yours is compromised so you can take steps to prevent or undo damage. Note that the bad guys have a head start on this!
You probably need to have better password hygiene. If you don't already, you need to make sure every account you have uses a different, unique, secure password. You should change these passwords at least once a year. Depending on how many accounts you have and how good your memory is, this is your first big security vs convenience trade-off battle. That's easily solved, though, by using a password manager. You can find a list of password managers on Wikipedia here or you can search around for some comparison articles. Some notable choices to consider:
1Password - recommend by Troy Hunt, creator of Have I Been Pwned
LastPass - I use this at work and it's generally good
BitWarden - free and open source! I use this at home and in some ways it's better than LastPass
KeePass (and forks) - free, open source, and totally offline; if you don't trust "the cloud" you can trade away some more convenience in exchange for taking full responsibility of your password security (and backups)
Regardless of which one you choose, any of them is 100x better than not using one at all.
The problem with all these passwords is that someone can still use them if they are found in a breach. Your passwords are only as strong as the website you use them on. In the case of the BMG breach mentioned above - all passwords were stored in an ancient format which has been insecure for years. It's likely that every single password in the breach can be reversed/cracked, or already have been. The next step you need to take is to make it harder for someone else to login with your password. This is done using Multi-Factor Authentication (or Two-Factor Authentication). Unfortunately not every website/service supports MFA/2FA, but you should still use it on every single one that does support it. You can check which sites support MFA/2FA here or dig around in account options on any particular site. You should setup MFA/2FA on your email account ASAP! If it's not supported, you need to switch to a provider that does support it. This is more important than your bank account! All of the big email providers support it: GMail, Outlook.com, Yahoo Mail, etc. The type of MFA/2FA you use depends on what is supported by each site/service, but there is a common approach that is compatible on many of them. Most of them involve phone apps because a phone is the most common and convenient "thing you have" that bad guys (or anyone, really) can't access easily. Time-based One-time Password or TOTP is probably the most commonly used method because it's easy to implement and can be used with many different apps. Google Authenticator was the first popular one, but it has some limitations which continue the security vs convenience battle - namely that getting a new phone is a super huge chore (no backup/restore option - you have to disable and setup each site all over again). Many alternatives support cloud backup which is really convenient, though obviously less secure by some measure. Notable choices to consider:
Authy - probably the first big/popular one after Google Authenticator came out (I think) - NOTE: They let you use it on your desktop/browser, too, but this is TOO much convenience! Don't fall for that trap.
LastPass Authenticator - conveniently links up with a LastPass account, some sites support extra features (like not needing to type a code, just answer a phone notification)
Yubikey - A real physical MFA device! Some models are compatible with phones, too.
Duo - this one is more geared towards enterprise, but they have a free option
Some sites/services use their own app, like Blizzard (battle.net) and Steam, and don't allow you to use other ones. You will probably have a few apps on your phone when all your accounts are setup, but it's worth it. You'll definitely want to enable it on your password manager as well if you chose a cloud-based one. Don't forget to save backup codes in an actual secure location! If you lose your backup codes and your auth app/physical key you will be locked out of accounts. It's really not fun recovering in that situation. Most recommendations are to print them and put in a fireproof safe, but using some other secure encrypted storage is fine. There is such a thing as bad MFA/2FA! However, anything is at least better than nothing. A lot of places still use SMS (text messaging) or e-mail for their MFA/2FA implementation. The e-mail one has the most obvious flaw: If someone gets into your email account they have defeated that security measure. The SMS flaws are less obvious and much less likely to affect you, but still a risk: SMS is trivial to intercept (capture data over the air (literally), clone your SIM card data, and some other methods). Still, if you're not a person of interest already, it's still better than nothing.
What Does This Have To Do With GameDev?
Yeah, I do know which subreddit I'm posting in! Here's the section that gets more into things specific to game development (or software development in general).
Secure Your Code
Securing your code actually has multiple meanings here: Securing access to your code, and ensuring your code itself is secure against exploitation. Let's start with access since that's the easier topic to cover! If you're not already using some form of Source Control Management (SCM) you really need to get on board! I'm not going to go in depth on that as it's a whole other topic to itself, but I'll assume you are using Git or Mercurial (hg) already and hosting it on one of these sites (or a similar one):
First, ensure that you have locked down who can access this code already. If you are using private repositories you need to make sure that the only people who have access are the people who need access (i.e. yourself and your team). Second, everyone should have strong passwords and MFA/2FA enabled on their accounts. If 1 person on the team does not follow good security practices it puts your whole project at risk! So make sure everyone on the team is following along. You can also look into tools to do some auditing and even automate it so that if anyone's account becomes less secure over time (say they turned off MFA one day) they would automatically lose their access. Additionally you should never commit secrets (passwords, API keys, tokens, social security numbers, etc) to your code repository. Probably 90% of cases where people have their AWS/Google Cloud/Azure accounts compromised and racking up huge bills for bitcoin mining is due to having their passwords/keys stored in their git repo. They either accidentally made it public or someone got access to the private repo through a compromised account. Never store sensitive information in your code repository! Next topic: Securing your code from vulnerabilities. This one is harder to talk about for game dev as most engines/frameworks are not as susceptible (for lack of a better word) to these situations as others. In a nutshell, you need to keep track of the following:
Is my code doing anything "dangerous"? (system-level stuff, memory access, saving passwords anywhere)
Could someone get the keys to the kingdom (API key, server password, etc) by just opening Cheat Engine and looking at memory values? Or doing a strings/hex edit/decompile/etc on my game executable?
Am I using outdated libraries/framework/engine? Do they have any known security bugs?
Secure Your Computer
I'm not going to go in depth on this one because at this point everyone should have a handle on this; if not there are limitless articles, blogs, and videos about the how/what/why. In summary: Keep everything updated, and don't open suspicious links.
Lock your computer when idle - use a password (or PIN or face unlock or whatever your OS uses) - no one should ever be able to walk up to your computer and use it if you're not looking, nor should they be able to get in if they grabbed your closed laptop off the table at starbucks (thanks u/3tt07kjt for reminding me of this one)
Use full disk encryption (especially on laptops)
Update your OS for security updates ASAP
Use anti-virus (yes, Windows Defender is fine) and keep it updated
Update your web browser ALWAYS (this is your 99% chance attack vector, so don't postpone it!)
Don't install browser extensions that you don't need - a LOT of extensions are either malware from the start or become malware later (my favorite emoji extension started mining bitcoins, FFS!) - check reviews regularly after extensions update
DO use adblock and privacy extensions - ads are a common attack vector - I recommend uBlock Origin and Privacy Badger at a minimum (note that some legit sites can break and so you'll have to fiddle with settings or whitelist)
Don't open suspicious or unknown links on e-mail, social media, discord, etc (be sure to hover over the links in this post before clicking them)
Don't open attachments, ever - unless you were expecting it from that person at that time
Don't fill out ANY forms (comments, login, registration, etc) on websites that don't have HTTPS (secure) connection - your browser will show this in the address bar, usually
In general, be suspicious of everything that comes from people you don't know - and even from people you do know if it was unexpected
E-Mail is (probably) the least secure form of communications ever invented - so try not to use it for sensitive things
Secure Your Website
I will have to add more to this later probably, but again there are tons of good articles, blogs, and videos on these topics. Hopefully the information in this section is enough to get you on the right track - if not feel free to ask for more info. Lots of guides can be found on Digital Ocean's site and they are relevant even if you don't use DO for your servers.
Use HTTPS (SSL/TLS) secure connections - it's FREE and EASY thanks to Let's Encrypt
KEEP EVERYTHING UPDATED - automate as much as you can
If you have control over the server, you MUST update the OS, the web server, and any backend application servers/languages/frameworks involved. Equifax breach was due to having out of date server software. BMG breach was worsened by having out of date server software. YOU MUST STAY UPDATED, ALWAYS
Don't store sensitive personal information - it's a huge pain to be PCI compliant, it's a huge fine if you mess it up - avoid storing any customer information that you don't actually need (see also: GDPR )
Do not allow access to SSH/Remote desktop/Database services from the whole world; the general public should only ever be able to reach ports 80 and 443 on your web server (and 80 should permanently redirect to HTTPS)
Use SSH keys instead of passwords on Linux servers
Don't run your own email server - it's just not worth it; use google apps for business, office 365, zoho, or something else for business email
Secure your domain registrar account! Don't lose your domain to a bad password or lack of MFA/2FA or an old email address! If your registrar doesn't support actual security then transfer to one that does. (namecheap, namesilo, google domains, amazon aws route53, even godaddy, the absolutely worst web company, has good security options)
A lot of this will apply to your game servers as well - really any kind of server you expect to setup.
That's it, for now
I ran out of steam while typing this all up after a couple hours, but I may revisit it later to add more info. Feel free to ask any questions about any of these topics and I'll do my best to answer them all.
TL;DR (y u words so much??)
Use a password manager so you can have different, random, secure passwords on every account on every website/service/game
Use MFA/2FA on every account, if possible
Lock your computer when idle/away
Use full disk encryption on laptops
Update your operating system (we all hate Windows Update, but it really is for our own good)
Use anti-virus (Windows Defender is fine)
Update your browser
Use good adblockeprivacy blocker browsers extensions
Don't use browser extensions that you don't really need (they could be a trojan horse of bitcoin mining later)
Don't trust anything sent by anyone, unless you were expecting it and know it's safe
E-mail is the least secure form of communications in use these days; don't trust it for sensitive things
Use source control for your game code (git, mercurial, etc)
Lock down access to your source code
Don't put secrets (passwords, API keys/tokens, social security numbers, credit card numbers) in your code repository
Don't do dumb things like store your AWS keys in your game for players to just find with simple tools
Check your code dependencies for security bugs, update them when needed
Use HTTPS on your website
Update your web server OS and software
Use secure password storage (don't reinvent this wheel, it's been solved by way smarter people)
Use SSH keys instead of passwords for Linux servers
Use a firewall to block the world from getting in with SSH/Remote desktop/database direct connections
Only allow your own IP address (which can change!) into the server for admin tasks
Don't run your own email server, let someone who knows what they are doing handle that for you
Secure your domain registrar account, keep email address up to date
... in general... in general... in general... I sure wrote those 2 words a lot.
Why Should I Trust This Post?
Hopefully I have provided enough information and good links in this post that you can trust the contents to be accurate (or mostly accurate). There is certainly enough information to do some searches on your own to find out how right or wrong I might be about these things. If you want my appeal to authority answer: I've been working at a major (network/computer) security company for almost 7 years as a software developer, and I've had to put up with pretty much every inconvenience brought on by security. I've also witnessed the aftermath of nearly every type of security failure covered in this post, via customers and the industry at large. None of the links I used are related to my employer or its products. Edit: Fixed some typos and added some more links More edit: added a few more points and links
EDIT: Nord is having a 75% off sale AND All plans have 30-day money-back guaranteeYou can claim that deal by using our special link! @ www.buy-nord.com NordVPN has been growing at a very fast pace since launching in 2012, and it’s now one of the largest VPN services on the market with over 12 million customers worldwide (according to NordVPN themselves). NordVPN has grown so much that it now claims to be the “best VPN service provider of 2019” but we all know that’s easier said than done, right? We needed to understand how good NordVPN really is and answer questions our readers have been asking us:
Is NordVPN safe?
How fast is it?
Does it work with Netflix?
Is torrenting and P2P allowed?
Is NordVPN easy to use?
We, therefore, tested it extensively for weeks, and in this detailed review, you will see exactly what we discovered.
But before we dive into it, let's take a quick look at NordVPN’s pros and cons: Pros
Very fast VPN speeds
Log-free & no IP, DNS & WebRTC leaks
Works with Netflix, BBC iPlayer & more
P2P & torrenting allowed on many servers
Huge server network: 5,600+ servers across 60 countries
User-friendly apps for PC, Mac, iOS, & Android with ad-blocker
Alternative VPN protocols have to be manually configured
Obfuscated servers don't always work in China
No obfuscated servers for iOS
Works with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, BBC iPlayer, Sky, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi Available on Windows Mac Ios Android Linux Price from $2.99/mo Still, want to know more about NordVPN and whether it’s the right VPN for you? We’ve carefully tested every single NordVPN app so you can rest assured that we left no stone unturned. Without further ado, let's get right into this review starting with NordVPN’s speed. Speed & Reliability Very fast speeds across the world NordVPN is a very fast VPN – as long as you connect to nearby VPN servers. It’s not the fastest VPN there is (these VPNs are currently faster), but NordVPN is still very quick and you won’t experience any speed issues. Both same-country (UK server to UK server) download and upload speeds are impressive, with minimal internet slowdown (around a 5-6% drop from our normal internet speeds). This makes NordVPN a very good choice for both streaming fans and torrenters. Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server. Before using NordVPN: DOWNLOAD Mbps 94.83 UPLOAD Mbps 91.8 PING ms 3 When connected to NordVPN: DOWNLOAD Mbps 90.51 UPLOAD Mbps 86.28 PING ms 5 Download speed without NordVPN: 94.83Mbps Download speed with NordVPN: 90.51Mbps Our download speed loss when NordVPN is running: 5% As you can see, NordVPN registered very impressive speeds when we connected to a nearby VPN server. It’s less impressive – but still very usable – over long-distance connections, though. Here are the average download and upload speeds connecting out from the UK to NordVPN’s servers: USA: 47Mbps (download) & 48Mbps (upload) Germany: 78Mbps (download) & 77Mbps (upload) Singapore: 17Mbps (download) & 6Mbps (upload) Australia: 22Mbps (download) & 3Mbps (upload) Ping times are also fairly low on most of NordVPN’s servers, which is good for gaming although there are better VPNs available to gamers. Server Locations Over 5,600 VPN servers spread across 60 countries worldwide Globe with a blue flag 60 Countries Image of a city landscape 90+ Cities Image of a pink marker 5,600+ IP Addresses See all Server Locations NordVPN’s server list covers 60 countries – it isn’t the widest VPN server range we’ve seen, but it should almost certainly ensure there is a server located near you. Screenshot of NordVPN Server List in App NordVPN provides a whopping 5,600 VPN servers, none of which are virtual, with each server given a static IP address. This is the highest number of VPN servers provided by a top VPN service, which is impressive. Even better, NordVPN owns all of the servers in its network. NordVPN’s server network covers all of the popular server locations such as the UK, the US, Australia, and Canada, as well as less common locations including Argentina, Egypt, and Albania. NordVPN provides city-level server choices in five different countries, too: Australia (five locations, 200+ servers) Canada (three locations, 400+ servers) Germany (two locations, 200+ servers) India (two locations, 20+ servers) The US (20 locations, 1,800+ servers) NordVPN used to offer city-level choice in the UK (London and Manchester) but recently removed the Manchester VPN servers as “their performance was lacking.” NordVPN have added even more servers in London in order to ensure the best speeds for those located in the UK. Streaming & Torrenting An excellent choice for streaming & torrenting Thanks to its SmartPlay technology, NordVPN consistently works with popular streaming services like Netflix and BBC iPlayer. To watch Netflix, simply click on the US or UK VPN country server and the NordVPN app will automatically find the best option for you. NordVPN also unlocks loads more Netflix libraries, including Canada, Japan, France, Italy, and Germany. Not all of NordVPN’s UK servers provide access to BBC iPlayer, but a quick message to live chat will let you know which ones are currently working. That will save you the trial-and-error of testing out all of NordVPN’s hundreds of UK servers. This is a big plus, as many other VPN providers can’t unlock BBC iPlayer. Unrestricted access to streaming services doesn’t stop there. Many of NordVPN’s customers use the VPN service to stream: Amazon Prime Video Hulu HBO Sling TV Sky Now TV Torrenting Torrenting (and other P2P traffic) isn’t allowed on every single NordVPN server, but there’s still more than enough server choice to keep torrenters and Kodi streamers happy. You can torrent while connected to almost every country on NordVPN’s server list – these are listed under ‘Speciality Servers’ within in the app settings. However, the following countries do not permit P2P: Argentina Costa Rica Chile Cyrpus Egypt Georgia Indonesia Malaysia South Korea Taiwan Thailand Vietnam Ukraine United Arab Emirates If you attempt to torrent while connected to a VPN server that doesn’t support P2P NordVPN will simply re-route your traffic through a dedicated server located in either Canada or the Netherlands. With plenty of added security features – such as its VPN kill switch – and a no-logs policy, NordVPN is without a doubt one of the safest VPNs for torrenting. Fast uploads and downloads make it a great choice too. Bypassing Censorship Obfuscated VPN servers work in China intermittently Since the VPN crackdown in China, NordVPN has become a little less reliable for residents or visitors in China, but it’s still a pretty good choice of VPN. Users have reported that NordVPN’s obfuscated servers often bypass the Chinese censors, but others have experienced difficulties connecting to them. NordVPN’s obfuscated servers are spread out fairly evenly, with options in North America, North Africa, Asia, and Europe, so you shouldn’t be too far away from one. There are no obfuscated VPN servers available on the NordVPN iOS app, though, so iPhone users may struggle to connect from China without some manual configuration. See our latest VPN recommendations if you’re looking for a reliable VPN for China, or you can read our ExpressVPN review or our VyprVPN review, two of our top choices. That’s just China, though – in other high censorship countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia NordVPN remains a solid VPN choice to bypass censorship. Platforms & Devices Protect all your devices with a wide range of custom VPN apps Apps Windows Logo Windows Mac Logo Mac iOS Logo iOS Android Logo Android Linux Logo Linux Router Logo Router NordVPN has simple native VPN apps for all major operating systems: Windows macOS iOS Android Linux (yes, even Linux) If your device is not compatible with the custom apps above, you can also install NordVPN on your router. What’s more, you can use NordVPN on up to six devices at the same time using just one VPN subscription, which is one of the highest allowances we’ve seen. Games Consoles & Streaming Devices AppleTV Logo AppleTV Amazon Fire TV Logo Amazon Fire TV Chromecast Logo Chromecast Nintendo Logo Nintendo PlayStation Logo PlayStation Roku Logo Roku Xbox Logo Xbox NordVPN has an Android TV app, meaning you can use the VPN app with streaming devices such as Android TV and the Amazon Fire TV Stick without any manual configuration. In fact, NordVPN is one of the best VPNs for the Fire TV although it is not our top recommendation. If you own a Firestick and want to use a VPN app with it, take a look at our roundup of the best VPNs for Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. If you want to run NordVPN on your other streaming devices or games consoles like Xbox and PlayStation, though, you’ll need to install it at router level. It’s not too difficult and it means that all devices connected to the router will be protected. Browser Extensions Chrome Logo Chrome Firefox Logo Firefox NordVPN provides VPN extensions for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. These VPN add-ons encrypt your browser traffic, but protection ends there so we always suggest using NordVPN’s extensions in conjunction with the main VPN application or client. The extensions also have an in-built WebRTC leak blocker, which is an extremely useful bonus. NordVPN doesn’t yet have VPN extensions for Safari or Opera browsers. Encryption & Security Secure VPN with advanced features but lacking protocol flexibility Protocol IKEv2/IPSec OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) WireGuard Encryption AES-256 Security DNS Leak Blocking First-party DNS Supports TCP Port 443 VPN Kill Switch WebRTC Leak Blocking Advanced features Double VPN TOR via VPN Server Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more. NordVPN has only one choice of VPN protocol by default, but it’s our personal favourite: OpenVPN. The iOS and macOS apps (available to download directly from the Apple App Store) run on IKEv2, though. OpenVPN provides the perfect blend of speed and security. It encrypts all your internet traffic using the ‘unhackable’ AES-256 cypher. Screenshot of NordVPN Settings Menu in App You can also use IKEv2 with NordVPN’s Windows and Android apps if you like, but it requires an extra download and a lot of advanced setup (manual configuration). The VPN kill switch feature protects your IP address in the event of a connection drop, and NordVPN’s privately owned and operated DNS servers ensure end-to-end protection. NordVPN provides Double VPN (multi-hop) and Tor over VPN (Onion over VPN) for extra encryption. As with all the VPN providers we review, we carried out extensive testing to find IP and DNS leaks when using NordVPN and we are happy to report that we found no leaks whatsoever. Screenshot of browserleaks.com test results for NordVPN Leak test results on browserleaks.com while connected to a NordVPN US server. We test from the UK. NordVPN has recently released a new technology for Linux users called NordLynx that’s based on the WireGuard VPN protocol. WireGuard is a new VPN protocol that aims to be faster and more secure than the current standards, but it’s still in development so should be considered experimental at this point. Logging Policy No-logs VPN in a privacy-friendly jurisdiction NordVPN doesn’t log your traffic or store any user logs, making it a safe and trustworthy VPN. Here’s a comprehensive list of all the information it does collect: Server loads That is the full extent of the information NordVPN collects, making it a true no-logs VPN. Server loads are monitored to maintain the optimal performance of VPN servers for users, and nothing else. Your privacy is upheld above all else, and NordVPN absolutely will not sell your personal data to any third parties. Jurisdiction NordVPN was founded in 2012 is operated by Tefincom & Co S.A. which is headquartered under the legal jurisdiction of Panama, putting it beyond the reach of US and EU data retention laws. Panama does not require VPN companies to store or report any of their data, nor is it part of any agreements that compel it to share information with other countries. Being based in Panama gives NordVPN the power to deny any third-party data requests, so there is absolutely no way that any of your online activity can be traced back to you. In 2018, NordVPN came under some heat as it was accused of not being headquartered in Panama. The reason for the controversy is that when you purchased NordVPN on Google Play Store, at the time the Seller of NordVPN was listed as CloudVPN INC. (a company registered in the US), and not Tefincom & Co S.A. It turns out that CloudVPN INC. is a payment processor and NordVPN was simply using it to handle payments, similarly to how other VPN providers use payment processing companies to manage these type of transactions. Ease of Use Quick and easy setup with simple custom apps How to Install & Set Up NordVPN Screenshot of NordVPN Download Button Downloading the software is as simple as going to Nord's website and clicking the download button for the appropriate platform. Screenshot of NordVPN Installation Progress You can check the progress of your installation here, which usually only takes a couple of minutes at most. Screenshot of NordVPN App Login Screen Once the software is installed, all that's left to do is log into the app and you're ready to go. Screenshot of NordVPN Desktop App Main Screen The main NordVPN app view with server locations to the left, which are also presented as pins on the map. Screenshot of NordVPN Specialty Servers On the left-hand side of the app, you can see the full list of server locations and speciality servers for P2P, Double VPN, etc. Screenshot of NordVPN City-Level Servers Hover over a country name and click on the three horizontal dots that appear in order to select a city-level server. Screenshot of NordVPN Connected Screen You will know when NordVPN is working because the server location you are connected to and your new IP address will be displayed at the bottom of the app. Screenshot of NordVPN General App Settings You can find the general settings by clicking 'Settings' at the top of the app. These consist of simple toggles for general settings, including the VPN kill switch. Screenshot of NordVPN Advanced App Settings Scroll down to the bottom of the settings menu to find the advanced options. After confirming that you know what you're doing, you can toggle between TCP/UDP and use obfuscated servers. The NordVPN website has comprehensive VPN setup guides for whatever platform you happen to be using, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever need them. All of NordVPN’s custom VPN apps run smoothly and are almost entirely self-explanatory. If you want to play around with advanced settings then you’re welcome to do that too – they’re clearly labelled and the app even warns you not to do so unless you know what you’re doing. Browser Extensions Screenshot of NordVPN Chrome Extension It couldn’t be much easier to set up NordVPN’s browser extensions – just go to the Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox store and download the add-on to your browser. Once you’ve logged on you can choose a server and connect. We’d recommend enabling ‘Block WebRTC’ from the settings menu to prevent any potential IP leaks. Customer Support Helpful live chat support & useful online resources 24/7 Live chat support Online Resources NordVPN provides excellent quality customer support both through its extensive knowledge base and via online live chat. Email support isn’t as good and we’ve found responses to be slow at times. There is really no reason to email customer support, though, as NordVPN’s live chat service is 24/7. Encounter any issues? NordVPN running slow, perhaps? No problem – support agents respond quickly and are extremely friendly and helpful, managing to fix most of our VPN issues within a couple of minutes. NordVPN’s troubleshooting guides are very useful, too, covering a variety of potential VPN issues and providing a range of possible solutions. Pricing & Deals Fantastic value for money on longer plans NordVPN Coupon NordVPN logo NordVPN Get 58% off NordVPN's 12-month plan TestedEnds 1 Sep Get Code10 Terms NordVPN Pricing Plan NordVPN is one of the best VPN services on the market, and it’s not very expensive at all. Also, every NordVPN price plan offers exactly the same VPN features. NordVPN costs a fairly pricey $11.95 if you pay month-by-month, but the price drops by almost half to $6.99 a month for annual plans. For the biggest savings, NordVPN’s three-year special deal costs just $2.99 per month, a saving of 75%. Monthly US$11.95/mo Billed $11.95 every month 12 Months US$6.99/mo Billed $83.88 every 12 months Save 41% 2 Years US$3.99/mo Billed $95.75 every 2 years Save 66% 3 Years US$2.99/mo Billed $107.55 every 3 years Save 75% All plans have 30-day money-back guarantee This is the best option available, $107 for 3 years coverage is unbeatable in the VPN sector. You can claim that deal by using our special link! @ www.buy-nord.com Payment & Refund Options NordVPN accepts a few different payment options, but it recently made the decision to stop accepting PayPal. The VPN service now uses Adyen for credit card payments, which it claims offers a greater level of privacy for customers due to its self-contained nature. Here are the accepted payment methods, which include some cryptocurrencies for those seeking higher levels of privacy: Credit and debit cards Direct debit Amazon Pay Bitcoin Ethereum Ripple Alipay UnionPay NordVPN no longer comes with a free VPN trial, but it does offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can cancel your NordVPN subscription within 30 days by contacting the customer support team through live chat. You will have to go through a troubleshooting process first, but the refund should be processed within 10 business days.
IPVanish is a popular VPN service particularly with Android and Fire TV Stick users, and it makes a very strong claim on its homepage – that it’s the “World’s Best VPN.” Seen this sort of statement before, right? It’s certainly one of the leading VPN providers out there, but is it really the best VPN overall? We never take a provider’s word for it, so we decided to put IPVanish to the test – a very extensive one – to see if its claims are to be believed. We were particularly keen to find out: How good is IPVanish? Is it safe to use? Is IPVanish very fast? Does it work with Netflix? Is torrenting and P2P allowed? Is it the best VPN app for Firestick? But before we answer each of these (and many more) questions, lets see the pros and cons of IPVanish VPN: Pros Cons Very impressive speeds Works with Netflix Great for torrenting & Kodi No-logs policy & no IP/DNS/WebRTC leaks User-friendly apps for PC, Mac, iOS, & Android Good server network across 50 countries Won't work with BBC iPlayer, or in China Short refund period Based in privacy-unfriendly US Desktop app could be more user-friendly Works with Netflix, HBO, Torrenting, Kodi Available on Windows Mac Ios Android Linux Price from $4.87/mo As you can see IPVanish certainly does have many strengths to shout about. It’s now time to take a very close look at the attributes and features of each IPVanish app, starting with how fast it is. Speed & Reliability IPVanish is a consistently fast VPN IPVanish is a very fast VPN service, with some of the quickest speeds we’ve seen in our tests. IPVanish didn’t slow down our connection too much, and it is more than fast enough for HD or 4K streaming. Speed results from our physical location in London (100Mbps fibre optic connection) to a London test server. Before using IPVanish: DOWNLOAD Mbps 93.76 UPLOAD Mbps 97.58 PING ms 2 When connected to IPVanish: DOWNLOAD Mbps 84.13 UPLOAD Mbps 90.33 PING ms 7 Download speed without IPVanish: 93.76Mbps Download speed with IPVanish: 84.13Mbps Our download speed loss when IPVanish is running: 10% Downloads, uploads and latency when using IPVanish are among the best we’ve seen, making this VPN a very smart choice for gamers and torrenters alike. It’s also one of the most reliable VPN services we’ve seen, providing consistently fast speeds from one test to the next. Here are the average speeds you can expect when using IPVanish to connect out to various locations around the world (from the UK): USA: 53Mbps (download) & 37Mbps (upload) Germany: 76Mbps (download) & 81Mbps (upload) Singapore: 25Mbps (download) & 2Mbps (upload) Australia: 24Mbps (download) & 6Mbps (upload) Server Locations Over 40,000 IP addresses across 77 locations Globe with a blue flag 50 Countries Image of a city landscape 77 Cities Image of a pink marker 40,000+ IP Addresses See all Server Locations IPVanish VPN gives access to more than 1,300 servers worldwide and over 40,000 IP addresses, which is one of the highest numbers of IP addresses we’ve ever seen. This means that you’re unlikely to experience VPN server congestion and slow speeds while connected to IPVanish. The 50 countries in IPVanish’s VPN server network are well spread-out, including some less common nations like Moldova and the Philippines (in addition to all the typical countries like US, UK, Canada, Australia, and more). List of IPVanish server locations IPVanish provides its customers with city-level options in the US (19 cities), UK (4), Canada (3) Australia (2) and Brazil (2). US-based users can choose from IPVanish servers in: Central – Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Jackson, Milwaukee, St. Louis East – Ashburn, Atlanta, Boston, Cleveland, Miami, New York West – Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, San Jose, Seattle We’d love to see more city-level selections in Australia – mainly Perth which is located on the West coast – and more server options in South America, where only Brazil and Colombia are served. The high number of VPN servers in IPVanish’s network is enough to offset these minor complaints, though. IPVanish is one of the few VPN providers to own its entire (or very close to) server infrastructure, meaning they rent very few servers from third-parties. Streaming & Torrenting Excellent choice for torrenting & Netflix Despite IPVanish being one of the fastest VPNs we’ve seen, it’s just not a great VPN for streaming. Most of IPVanish’s US servers work for Netflix, although it can occasionally take a while to load, but all of its UK servers are currently blocked by BBC iPlayer and according to IPVanish they are not looking to work on fixing this. If streaming BBC iPlayer is important to you, read through our dedicated guide or take a look at our NordVPN or CyberGhost reviews, two VPN services that work well with BBC iPlayer. IPVanish has also confirmed it isn’t working with Amazon Prime Video or Hulu at the moment. Torrenting IPVanish is, however, one of the best VPN services for torrenting we’ve tested, with very fast speeds and a watertight logging policy. Torrenting is permitted on all of its servers and when we checked for IP/DNS leaks, we found none. Not to mention that it has a VPN kill switch, but more on this below. Therefore, we recommend IPVanish VPN for all P2P activity including Kodi for which IPVanish is currently the #1 VPN service. Bypassing Censorship No good for China IPVanish is very upfront in saying that the VPN service won’t work in China, despite being equipped with an array of obfuscation tools. We really appreciate IPVanish’s honesty on this topic. IPVanish also provides a useful list of other countries the VPN won’t work in: you can find this on the support section of the IPVanish website. List of IPVanish banned countries IPVanish states that it is “forbidden to do business in”: Myanmar Cuba Iran North Korea Sudan Syria IPVanish states that its domain, ipvanish.com, is blocked in: Qatar Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates (UAE) China Kazakhstan It’s not just IPVanish’s domain that is blocked in these countries, and many users have reported that IPVanish’s apps don’t work either. If you live or are travelling to a high censorship country then we suggest you consider using VPN services like ExpressVPN or VyprVPN to bypass aggressive internet censors. Platforms & Devices Works with all major platforms & devices Apps Windows Logo Windows Mac Logo Mac iOS Logo iOS Android Logo Android Linux Logo Linux Router Logo Router IPVanish has custom VPN apps for all popular mobile and desktop operating systems so you can use them on: PCs Apple Macs iPhones Android devices You can also setup IPVanish on other devices using manual workarounds (see the ‘Games Consoles & Streaming Devices’ section below). Games Consoles & Streaming Devices AppleTV Logo AppleTV Amazon Fire TV Logo Amazon Fire TV Chromecast Logo Chromecast Nintendo Logo Nintendo PlayStation Logo PlayStation Roku Logo Roku Xbox Logo Xbox IPVanish is a good VPN to use with gaming consoles and streaming devices. IPVanish is our number 1 VPN pick for the increasingly popular Amazon Firestick, and it’s super easy to install and use. You can also use IPVanish on 10 devices at once, which is very generous (the average among the top VPN services is about 5 simultaneous connections). You can also install IPVanish on your home router so that all your internet traffic at home is protected. Browser Extensions Unfortunately, IPVanish doesn’t have any VPN browser extensions, which is a shame and one of the very few areas where it seriously lags behind its competitors. If you want to use a VPN extension with your web browser then take a look at our: Best VPN extensions for Chrome Best VPN addons for Firefox Encryption & Security One of the safest providers we’ve reviewed Protocol IKEv2/IPSec L2TP/IPSec OpenVPN (TCP/UDP) PPTP Encryption AES-256 Security DNS Leak Blocking First-party DNS IPV6 Leak Blocking Supports TCP Port 443 VPN Kill Switch Advanced features SOCKS Please see our VPN Glossary if these terms confuse you and would like to learn more. We believe that IPVanish is one of the most secure and private VPN services available. IPVanish mainly uses the OpenVPN and IKEv2 protocols and encrypts your online traffic with the ‘unbreakable’ AES-256 cipher, meaning you’re protected at all times. You can also connect using L2TP/IPsec, if you’d prefer. IPVanish has a VPN kill switch to protect your privacy in case of a connection drop, plus a host of other advanced features to secure your web browsing. This includes SOCKS5 web proxy, which masks your IP address during P2P and VoIP connections – although this doesn’t encrypt traffic. We also found IPVanish to be extremely safe, and free of IP or DNS leaks in our most recent tests: IPVanish leak test results from browserleaks.com IPVanish’s leak test results when connected to its Chicago server Logging Policy No-logs policy makes up for US jurisdiction IPVanish doesn’t collect any user data at all, making it a no-logs VPN service. Considering most VPN logging policies track at least server load or login information for maintenance purposes, this is what makes IPVanish a standout VPN for privacy. In 2016, when under previous management, IPVanish was however found to be collecting logs when it handed information over to US authorities to aid in the prosecution of a user. Since being acquired a number of times since then, IPVanish has turned things around and we have no longer concerns about its approach to user privacy. Jurisdiction IPVanish VPN was first released in 2012 by its former US-based owner HighWinds Network Group. IPVanish has since been acquired by StackPath and in 2019 by J2 Global which are both US-based companies. As you can see IPVanish is, and has always been, operated by companies headquartered in the US, which does have very intrusive surveillance laws and is a member of the Five-Eyes data sharing agreement. IPVanish being based in the US is largely irrelevant though as its no-logs policy means no identifiable information is collected by the VPN provider. Ease of Use User-friendly install with lots of advanced features How to Install & Set Up IPVanish Screenshot of the Windows download button on the IPVanish website Beginning the installation process is as simple as clicking the button to download the relevant software from the site. Screenshot of the progress of our IPVanish Windows download You can check the progress of the installation here, but it usually only takes a couple of minutes from start to finish. Screenshot of the completed IPVanish download Once the software is downloaded, you'll see this screen which prompts you to run the IPVanish app. Screenshot of IPVanish's main dashboard on its Windows app IPVanish main dashboard shows key connection info and permits server selection. We like the nice graph too. Screenshot of IPVanish's server list in the Windows app Power users will select servers from the main dashboard rather than the server list as it's a slicker experience. Screenshot of the server location filters in the IPVanish desktop app IPVanish server list view with filters - it's mostly pretty good but not as optimal as using the main dashboard. Screenshot of the advanced settings in IPVanish's desktop app IPVanish is rich with advanced settings for customizing connections and it's well laid out to boot. Nice! IPVanish’s desktop VPN apps are perfectly simple to use, even if they could do with a bit of a visual overhaul as they are starting to look a little out-dated. The advanced privacy settings are also easy to navigate, making IPVanish suited to both VPN beginners and more experienced users. The mobile IPVanish apps lack a few key features, such as the VPN kill switch, but they do still provide a very good, user-friendly experience. Customer Support Helpful support with 24/7 live chat 24/7 Email support Online Resources We found IPVanish customer support agents to be friendly and helpful no matter what we asked them about the VPN service. Thanks to a recent update, IPVanish now also has 24-hour live chat support on its website. IPVanish also has excellent email support, which provided us with impressively well-written responses, as well as an online FAQ for straightforward solutions to the most common issues. If for any reason IPVanish isn’t working properly, you should be able to fix it quickly by following these guides. Pricing & Deals Well worth it for the level of service IPVanish Coupon IPVanish logo IPVanish Get 60% off IPVanish's 12-month plan TestedEnds 22 Aug Get CodeED Terms IPVanish Pricing Plan IPVanish is reasonably priced and affordable. It is neither the cheapest VPN service, nor the most expensive. You can pay for IPVanish monthly or on an annual basis. $4.87 per month on the 12-month plan is a very good price, especially as it’s 60% cheaper than the standard one-month plan, priced at $11.99. There’s also a 3-month option for $6.75 per month. Monthly US$7.50/mo Billed $7.50 for the first month Save 38% 3 Months US$6.75/mo Billed $20.24 for the first 3 months Save 44% 12 Months US$4.87/mo Billed $58.49 for the first 12 months Save 60% All plans have 7-day money-back guarantee Payment & Refund Options The IPVanish seven-day money-back guarantee is 100% no-questions-asked and refunds your money within 10 working days. Our only issue is with IPVanish’s iOS policy – if you sign up for an IPVanish login via the iOS Store then you don’t qualify for the money back guarantee. IPVanish only accepts credit cards, debit cards, and PayPal. Unfortunately neither cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin nor international options like Alipay are currently accepted.
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